What is Dab Weed?

A dab rig and all its accessories, including a little jar of amber dab weed sit on a table.

Shop this article

View all
Indica Sleep THCA
Indica Sleep THCA
Hybrid Relax THCA
Hybrid Relax THCA
Focus Sativa THCA
Focus Sativa THCA
Hybrid Relax THCA
Hybrid Relax THCA
Indica Sleep THCA
Indica Sleep THCA
Delta-8 Indica Sleep
Delta-8 Indica Sleep
Table Of Contents
If you are just getting into the world of cannabis, something that you might just be hearing about is dabs or dabbing. There are of course many different ways to consume cannabis, including smoking, vaporizing, ingesting, and more. Dabbing is technically a form of vaporizing, although there are some differences between dabbing and using a vaporizer cartridge. Today, we want to figure out exactly what dab weed is. We're going to figure out what it is, how it is made, where they come from, what it can be made out of, and so much more. We also want to talk about some of the safety issues surrounding dabs. Let's get to it and figure out what exactly these dabs are all about. So, what is a dab?

Key Takeaways

  • Dabs are cannabis concentrates made with a butane extraction process.
  • Dabs usually contain upwards of 80% THC.
  • Dabs are considered safer than smoking.
  • Dabs can get you very high and are also very cost-effective.

What Exactly is Dab Weed?

So, what is a dab of weed? Technically speaking, dab weed is not actually weed, not like the flower that you might get in a dispensary, grind up, and roll into a joint. Dab weed, otherwise simply known as dabs, is a cannabis concentrate that is made using butane hash oil. This is a cannabis concentrate that requires a very lengthy and dangerous processing method to turn what was once cannabis flower into these dabs. Dabs may also be called amber, shatter, wax, honeycomb, or budder. These are all different names for the same thing, concentrated butane hash oil. This involves a special chemical process that requires butane to extract the oils from the raw cannabis. We'll talk more about how dabs are made further below. However, the important part here is that BHO or dabs can contain 80% THC or even more, which is very high when compared to traditional cannabis, which usually tops out at 25% or 30% at the most. At the very minimum, dabs are going to be about four to five times stronger than your average joint, which means that stabs produce an extremely intense high. If you need something to compare it to, it is not all that different from the cannabis oils or concentrates that you might have in your vaporizer pen. This is especially the case in terms of potency and the production process. As you will see further below, the production process of dabs is extremely dangerous.

Where do Dabs Come From, and How Are They Made?

What is interesting to note is that dabbing seems to have its origins back in the 1960s, when American soldiers fighting in the Vietnam War used petrol or acetone as solvents to extract THC into a liquid concentrate. This was then usually combined with tobacco and rolled in paper. However, at some point, people then figured out that vaporizing dabs using special tools is much more effective than smoking them through combustion. There are even images of U.S. soldiers in Vietnam smoking cannabis and cannabis concentrates out of unloaded rifles. In terms of how dabs are made, they are made with a process known as butane extraction. In the simplest terms, a whole lot of marijuana flower is placed inside a metal container that only has a small opening at the top and bottom. Then, lighter fluid or compressed butane in a can is then shot or blasted through this cannabis flower from the top to the bottom. This lighter fluid or butane acts as a solvent that extracts the THC from the cannabis flower. Then, the liquid butane or lighter fluid, along with the extracted THC flows out to the bottom into a puddle. Then, there are various methods to purify this mixture, remove the butane, and leave just the THC behind. Generally speaking, most people just leave it out in the open for a few days to allow the butane to evaporate into the air, therefore leaving behind just the extracted THC. Some people may even try heating it to make the butane evaporate quicker, although this is of course very dangerous. This forms a somewhat solid substance that can be quite gummy, sticky, and stretchy. There are also cases where it dries and becomes much harder, effectively turning into a thin sheet of glass, which is why it may also be referred to as shatter because if you touch it, it might just shatter into pieces. Making hash oil is one of the most dangerous things you could do because all of that butane floating around in the air is extremely flammable. This is not unlike running your own methamphetamine lab. There are dozens, if not hundreds of reports of people blowing up their garages, houses, and themselves, trying to make dabs. We do not recommend trying to make your own dabs at home in the least.

Can You Make Dabs from Resin?

If we are talking about live resin, this has already been processed into its own type of cannabis concentrate. What you need to know here is that one of the biggest differences is that with live resin, the cannabis flower is first flash-frozen to help preserve the natural flavors and terpenes. A closed-loop extraction process, such as butane extraction, is then used to extract the THC from the cannabis flower, therefore turning it into a live resin concentrate. Another big difference here is that live resin is usually made out of freshly harvested marijuana flower, whereas dabs are usually made out of ground-up flower. Shatter, wax, or dabs if we don't retain their original terpenes or flavors. You really cannot turn one into the other, because they are both finished and processed versions of cannabis. They are both their own and individual types of cannabis concentrate, although in the grand scheme of things, besides the flavors they have, they are very similar.

Can You Make Dabs Out of Kief?

Yes, absolutely can you make dabs, shattered, rosin, or anything in between out of kief. For those of you who don't know, kief is the term that people use for the crystals or trichomes that come from marijuana flowers. It’s that thick layer of powder in the bottom of your grinder after you haven’t cleaned it out for some time. In other words, these are the components that contain the most THC. Kief is what is generally used to make hash. You can also use kief or hash to make wax or other extracts. Many people might prefer using kief because it is so much more potent. When you use just kief, those super potent THC crystals to make dabs with, as opposed to regular marijuana flower, the THC content is going to be much higher, therefore resulting in shatter that is also much more potent. The main difference is just that you will need some kind of rosin bag to contain the kief so that it does not get lost or drain out into your final mixture along with the butane extract. With that being said, Kief is very expensive or hard to collect, which means that most people don't do it because it is generally not considered very cost-effective.

How Do People Smoke Dabs?

What is dabbing? Dabs are generally smoked in what is known as a dab rig. Now, technically speaking, dabbing is vaporizing, not smoking. Smoking involves lighting the material on fire to cause combustion, which then results in smoke that you inhale. Vaporizing on the other hand simply involves heating the substance to the point where it turns into a vapor that you can then inhale. There is no flame or combustion present here. Well, technically speaking, you need some kind of flame or heat source to heat your dab rig. Technically speaking, inside your dab rig, there is going to be something known as a nail. This is either a metal or glass rod, usually with some kind of a flat piece at the top for the dabs to rest on. You take some kind of torch or source of extreme heat to heat that dab nail to the point where it is so hot that when you touch the dabs to it, those dabs will instantly turn into vapor which you then inhale. Simply put, a dab rig is more or less a bong where you heat a piece of glass or metal that then vaporizes the marijuana concentrate, as opposed to a bowl where you burn marijuana flower in. That said, you may also be able to put dab concentrate into a refillable vaporizer cartridge, although this is the much less popular option. Some people may also choose to take their dabs and put them inside a bong, joint, or pipe. However, this is generally seen as being extremely ineffective, both in terms of the effect you get and the money spent. Trying to actually smoke dabs via combustion is going to be very harsh on your throat and your wallet. That said, it is possible to smoke dabs without a dab rig. Also, keep in mind that eating dabs won’t get you high, as the THC hasn’t been decarbed yet. However, what you can eat are our tasty Botany Farms Delta 10 THC Mango Gummies.

Is Dabbing Safer than Smoking Weed?

Dabbing is generally considered safer than smoking weed, mainly because dabbing involves inhaling vapor as opposed to smoking which involves inhaling smoke. Technically speaking, the vapor is not as harmful to your lungs as smoke, but it still is not considered safe. Dabbing marijuana concentrates can still expose you to high levels of a variety of toxins, such as carcinogenic compounds, or in other words, chemicals that can cause cancer. Because dabbing often involves very high temperatures, the number of carcinogenic substances and other toxins you may be exposed to can potentially be very high. Dabbing requires much higher temperatures than other methods of marijuana consumption. At the same time, it may be the case that upwards of 80% of marijuana extracts still contain highly poisonous pesticides and solvents often left over from the extraction process. In other words, you might be inhaling butane, which is of course not very healthy. so, is dabbing healthier than smoking? Yes. Is dabbing healthy? Not especially.

Can Smoking Dabs Make You Sick?

Over a very prolonged period, smoking dabs may cause respiratory distress. The simple fact of the matter is that inhaling these substances is not good for your lungs. Seeing as dabs can expose you to carcinogenic substances, it is safe to reason that prolonged exposure to high quantities may over time lead to the development of lung cancer. Other breathing issues may be associated with dabbing. Other than that, there may also be some mild side effects associated with high levels of THC, such as paranoia, anxiety, dry mouth, red eyes, hunger, tiredness, dizziness, headache, and gastrointestinal upset.

What Are the Benefits of Dabbing Weed?

There are some benefits to dabbing weed, so let's take a quick look.
  • Because it is vaporization, not combustion, it is slightly better for your lungs than smoking.
  • People also like dabbing because it only takes a little bit to get you extremely high. These substances usually contain anywhere from 70% THC to upwards of 90% THC. A single dab can get you very high and it can last for hours.
  • Many people also find that dabbing is not as harsh on the lungs as smoking.
  • Because it only takes so little of a dab to get you high, many people also find it to be extremely cost-effective.
If you’d like to try your hand at vaping, check out our own Botany Farms Delta 8 THC Tangerine Dream Vape Cartridge or our Delta 8 THC Berry Blossom Vape Cartridge.


Although dabbing weed is not the safest thing in the world, it is generally considered a bit safer than smoking, and people love it because it is so potent and cost-effective. If all of this is just too much for you, and you’d rather stick with simple smoking, check out our hugely popular Botany Farms Delta 8 THC Lemon Diesel CBG Pre-Rolls. Thanks for stopping by! Get your head out of the clouds and give one of our vapes a try.

Reading next

an image of a cannabis bud with a measuring tape around it as though it's measuring it's waist.
an image of a cannabis bud with a measuring tape around it as though it's measuring it's waist.